BANGALORE: Considered to be one of Asia’s biggest flower market, the K R Market in all its traditional glory attracts the sale and purchase of more than 20 tonnes of flowers daily. The flowers arrive into the city not only from different districts of the State but also from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
Even as the dawn sets in, there are men and women who involve themselves in buying and selling every kind of flower in bulk quantities. It is a sheer feast for one’s eyes to get a glimpse of the wide varieties of roses, jasmines, tulips, orchids, gerbara and others in mesmerising colours, shapes and hues.
Lalita, a flower vendor in K R Market who has been selling roses for the past five years, said, “The flowers we buy here are from Hoskote and surrounding areas of the city. My income is around Rs 50 to Rs 100 every day. But the income goes up during the festival season up to Rs 500 per day.”
The vendors who start their business early in the morning (3.30 am) have to leave this place at 8.30 am as they are located in front of other shops and theatres. Later these flower sellers move to different areas of the city for their business, while others are satisfied with what they earn in the market in those few hours.
If you drop into the market early in the morning, you can witness people calling out prices for different varieties of flowers as well as others haggling for the right price. But, at the same time one cannot miss or witness the chaos amidst the regular business. The old and filthy market, which is named after Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar, is now suffering from lack of maintenance in the vicinity, while authorities have failed to provide even the basic facilities like drinking water. It is not an easy place for customers to traverse and do their purchasing as there is hardly any space in the bustling market.
Speaking about their problems, Mariyappa Y, a vendor said, “This place has no proper drainage system and also lacks cleanliness. During monsoons, the water gets accumulated in the pavements, making it hazardous for the public to even walk. We have complained about the same to the health department numerous times but in vain.”
Vendors also complained that there are no pits to dump waste and as a result the waste is strewn all over the pavements.
When City Express interacted with the President of Flower Association G M Diwakar about the problems faced by the flower merchants, he said, “Some vendors have pitched their tents in unauthorised places and they are forced to vacate on the demands of the shopkeepers.” He further added, “The Association has been lodging complaints about the water problem for the past 12 years, but no action has been taken till date.”
He also said that it is the responsibility of the Association to maintain cleanliness, but due to the civic worker’s irregularity in clearing the garbage, it has been causing problems for the customers as well as the vendors. Commenting on the dirty environs of the city market, common people told City Express that the clean up action of the authorities is utterly lacking and urgent measures are needed to make the market a more citizen friendly place for people to visit and enjoy shopping.